On Sunday, February 14, hundred of Calgarians gathered to honour murdered and missing indigenous women in the 8th annual Valentine’s Day Women’s Memorial March.
The event organizers say the march aims to raise awareness and inspire change in violence against women, in particular indigenous women, whom the group says face “compounded and unique risks.”
“A vast majority of Indigenous women have been assaulted. Violence may have begun while at residential school or by parents whose souls were damaged by the residential school experience of rape, physical abuse, and cultural genocide. Violence continues into adulthood, ranging from 48% to up to 90% of Indigenous women being assaulted at the hands of their partners, depending on the community in which they live,” said organizer Chantal Chagnon in a release.
Other challenges indigenous women tend to face are street harassment, racially-motivated attacks, and a higher death rate than other groups of women, according to Chagnon.
The first phase of a national inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women is expected to conclude on Monday.
According to CTV News, Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould told Vancouver marchers the government has identified two priorities.
“To find justice — some measure of justice — for the murdered and missing indigenous women and girls, and to collectively work to find solutions to ensure that this tragedy does not continue,” she told the crowd.
Calgary joined many other Canadian cities like Vancouver, Winnipeg, Toronto, and Montreal standing in solidarity with indigenous women.